Thursday, December 27, 2007

Egypt retroactively copyrights antiquities

The BBC is reporting that Egypt is expected to pass a law granting copyright status to full-scale replicas of any object in any museum in Egypt. The copyright holder will apparently be Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Although Zahi Hawass told the BBC that the new law will apply to all countries, this seems unlikely. International copyright law is based on the Berne Convention. Article 18 says that the Convention only applies to works which were not in public domain when the treaty came into force. So new laws retroactively copyrighting the pyramid will not work. But suppose that Iraq, which is currently not a signer of Berne, got its act together and joined the WTO. It would have to respect the laws in place at signing, including this odd new Egyptian law.

I'm not a lawyer, and perhaps some other law or treaty would make this enforceable in the US.

I think this is a silly law, but Egypt has not asked my opinion. I suspect it would apply to replicas of any coins in any museum in Egypt. (It seems like it would be easy to get around it, by making 99% or 101% scale copies.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Google Book Search (by subject)

Google Book Search has a new (or new to me) 'subject' advanced search option.

There are 72 full-text books for subject 'coins', 123 for subject 'coins, greek', 132 for subject 'coins, roman' and 32 for for 'coins, ancient'.

'coins, american' yields only 1 full-view title, Catalogue of John W. Haseltine's Type Table of U.S. Dollars, Half Dollars & Quarter Dollars, also Many Other Rare and Fine Coins ..., a Bangs & Company auction from November 28-30, 1881

The quotes are important if you enter the comma. A search for coins, american yields 0 hits. coins american and "coins, american" both yield titles.

Although there is only one full-view American title, there are 4 with limited previews and 600+ searchable 'snippet view' titles.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Alex Malloy numismatic library auction

Malter Galleries will be auctioning the Alex G. Malloy library on January 12-13th.

The auction is not part of the New York International but is being held across the street during the coin show. It will also be possible to bid live on eBay.

Part 2 is 1568 lots of numismatic literature, mostly on ancients (there are only three lots on US coins). There is also a Part 1, 739 lots of books on antiquities, ancient art, and archeology.

There is a full page add in December's The Celator.

There might be some bargains. The books will be sold without reserves or minimums. Interestingly, the catalog doesn't describe the condition of the books. There will be new preview at NYINC. Instead, “Preview books will be only at a New Jersey home, about 1 hour outside of NYC. Preview will begin 2 weeks prior to the auction”

Thursday, December 13, 2007


The NYINC web site is up. There will be six auctions.

In case you haven't noticed, has a new look. Links to the NYINC Triton XI and Gemini IV auctions are there. The Gemini catalog includes 72 brockages from the Marc Melcher Brockage Collection.

The catalog for the Baldwin/Markov/M&M “New York Sale” is also up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pravda uses photo from Ancient Coins Canada

When I was growing up we were terrified of the Soviet Union's hydrogen bombs. The official Soviet newspaper was Pravda. We were worried when American newspapers reported angry talk from Russian leaders in Pravda.

Pravda now has a web site, and on the web site is a report of the arrest of a 70-year-old barber. He was arrested in Greece for possession of ancient coins without a license (a license is needed to collect in Greece).

The barber had 2,300 Hellenistic and Roman bronze coins. Pravda, the mighty former mouthpiece of the Kremlin, wanted to illustrate the Associated Press story. Pravda's editors didn't have a photo of the barber's collection or even a good stock photo of Roman bronzes from the Hermitage collection. They illustrated, with credit, an uncleaned lot offered by VCoins dealer Ancient Coins Canada.

The lot can be seen at Lot #unclgreek — uncleaned Greek coins for $6.50 each. Your chance to own a coin published in Pravda!

Islamic coins recovered in Iraq

The New York Times, in a story on the Iraqi museum, reports tomorrow that “... directors have managed to recover 4,000 missing pieces, among them gems, Islamic coins and carved stones.”

It has been firmly established that there were no coins in the 15,000 stolen items. So how were coins recovered?

...recovery picked up as word spread that rewards were offered for items returned.

I'm glad that the museum is acquiring more coins for its collection. I am irritated that the Times continues to imply that coins were looted from the museum.

80,000 Reagan artefacts missing from museum

(This is a month old, and has nothing to do with coins.),,2208145,00.html

The Guardian is reporting that 80,000 pieces in the collection of 100,000 items at the Reagan library are missing.

After antiquities thefts at Turkish museums there was chatter in the press that Turks were especially bad at museum security. Turns out things are not much better in California.

(via Art Law News)